Guido & Co

04Nov07

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The yelps and cries of poor old Guido Fawkes, renditioned to the Tower to have his joints twisted on the rack are now substituted by the whooping of children waving glowing rods like witch’s wands, in a country out of tune with its own history.

Approaching Heathrow from the east, an airliner lowers its landing gear over the ‘burbs of Barnes, its self-loading freight looking out through the peepholes to see flares and sparkling fireworks below. The airline boarding card says it’s the 3rd but is it not the 5th of November when our largely Protestant nation celebrates the failure of the 1605 papist plot to ignite parliament?

Indeed it was – but Londoners, whose city hosted this act don’t wait for the calendar before opening their box of Standard favourites. In the years after the 13 Catholic terrorists were either killed resisting arrest, or succumbing to Guantanamo-style torture, Londoners lit bone fires to rejoice in the Pope’s continued spiritual and geographical distance from England.

Somehow, 200 years after that piece of Breaking News did Guido Fawkes – rather than the more influential Robert Catesby or Thomas Wintour become the symbol of such wicked treason.

My co-conspirators would make a guy from old sacking and clothes then parade our extra-terresrial through the streets in a home-made go-kart asking for Pennies with which to buy our gunpowder. On the night of the 5th it would be unceremoniously dumped on the summit of our community ‘bonfire’: a sacrificial effigy. Up went Guy and possibly dozens of hedgehogs over the years, in a religious fireball reminiscent of Catholics put to the torch in Cate Blanchett’s time.

We neither shout slanderous insults to Fawkes nor even a ‘For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow’ to good King James when touching the fuses and retreating 20 feet. And yet our children go begging for sweets on dark Halloween nights, a recently-imported pagan nonsense sponsored by Sainsburys.

This week, you may not see schoolboys in shorts, caps and blazers pushing home-built contraptions while yelling: “Penny for the Guy!” to strangers on street corners. But for the weeks beforehand and afterwards, the city cracks and snaps with the sound of exploding sulphur, charcoal and potassium nitrate above the city, the incendiary devices discovered 402 years ago lashed in barrels to the pillars beneath parliament.

Postcript dated 5th November: I see spook Director Jonathan Evans chose the Fifth to speak about 2,000 modern day islamists, some as young as 15, who threaten national security in the spirit of atrocity and mayhem.

“Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why gunpowder, treason
Should ever be forgot.”

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2 Responses to “Guido & Co”

  1. I was not sure if it was your blog I was reading or not…you are getting seriously grumpy…I always thought that all events were sponsored. Easter by Cadbury, New Years Eve by Carlsberg and Christmas by Coca Cola. What the supermarkets don’t destroy you can bet anything that “Elf and Safety” will be doing the rest…


  1. 1 Renaissance « England’s Pleasant Pastures

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